You can look (but you better not touch): Who justifies casual sex before and during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

13 Downloads (Pure)


The COVID-19 pandemic and particularly lockdowns that were imposed to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus have had a profound impact on our sociability, restricting our sex lives as a result. Less is known, however, about the extent to which people have justified casual sex less during the pandemic. Scholarship argues that such moral values are socialised at a young age, remain stable across the life course, and are therefore largely resistant against adverse experiences. The pandemic offers a unique opportunity to test this claim. In this chapter, we analyse data of the European Values Study for 1999, 2008
and 2017, representative of the Netherlands, supplemented with additional data collections in May 2020 and October 2020, allowing for an evaluation of the specific nature of justifying casual sex. The analysis show that the increase in justifying casual sex came to a halt during the ‘intelligent lockdown’, which was imposed by the Dutch government to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. During the crisis, strong opposition to casual sex was expressed by Dutch respondents who were concerned about the virus. When lockdown measures were eased, justification of casual sex increased again. Although we find
evidence for experiential explanations for justifying casual sex, the results of our study further suggest that these justifications are embedded in modernisation theory
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReflections on European Values
Subtitle of host publicationHonouring Loek Halman’s Contribution to the European Vales Study
EditorsR. Luijkx, T. Reeskens, I. Sieben
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherOpen Press TiU
ISBN (Print)9789403658773
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameEuropean Values Series


Dive into the research topics of 'You can look (but you better not touch): Who justifies casual sex before and during the Covid-19 pandemic?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this